22 February 2018

Namibia: Ngatjizeko Resigns From Cabinet On Health Grounds

Windhoek — The newly appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs Immanuel Ngatjizeko has resigned due to ill health after barely two weeks in the new portfolio.

Alfredo Hengari, press secretary in the presidency, confirmed Ngatjizeko's resignation saying it is with immediate effect.

Hengari, in a statement issued yesterday, said Ngatjizeko, the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development until recently, was relieved of his duties on the recommendation of his own physician.

It is not yet clear whether the 66-year-old would also resign from his position as MP in the National Assembly.

Yesterday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi said he did not get any communication regarding Ngatjizeko' seat in parliament.

"As far as I know he is still a member of parliament, unless there is going to be a follow up later to recall him. So far, we did not receive any communication. As a minister he could resign due to the reasons he gave, but we are of the view that he continues to be a member of parliament until there is such a recall," Katjavivi said.

Two weeks ago, President Hage Geingob appointed Ngatjizeko as minister in the presidency, replacing Frans Kapofi who was moved to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

Geingob yesterday commended the outgoing minister, calling him a true servant.

"You have been a model cadre and an outstanding servant to the people of Namibia, and this is evident through your reputation as an admired leader within the community," the President said.

Geingob wished Ngatjizeko well and further thanked him for the invaluable and exemplary contribution the ruling Swapo Party, government and Namibia as well as its people.

Ngatjizeko has not been well since 2015 when he had to receive treatment in Pretoria, South Africa, for alleged pneumonia. At the time, he and the ministry's permanent secretary Gabriel Sinimbo were returning from Gabon in West Africa when the minister was abruptly diverted to Pretoria for treatment.

Hengari yesterday said Geingob would at an appropriate time announce the new presidential affairs minister.

Ngatjizeko was a Swapo organiser since 1978. He served on the party's internal National Executive Committee before Namibian independence and was elected to Swapo central committee in 1991, and to the politburo in 2007.

Ngatjizeko has been a member of parliament since 2000, and member of Cabinet since 2003 when then president Sam Nujoma appointed him as director-general of the National Planning Commission.

From 2000 to 2005 he also served as Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy. In the 2005-2010 Cabinet Ngatjizeko was first Minister of Trade and Industry and from 2008 Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. In the 2010-2015 Cabinet, he served as Minister of Labour and Social Welfare until 2012, and as Minister of Safety and Security for the remainder of the legislative period.

Under President Hage Geingob, Ngatjizeko was moved to the post of Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development in March 2015.

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